Adopting A Bad Attitude

| USA | Working | September 19, 2016

(It is less than a month after one of my cats has died. My remaining cat, who is elderly and has never been without a companion a day in her life, falls into a deep depression from loneliness, so I start looking into adopting an older cat to keep her company. I find an older male that I like in a local shelter and fill out an application for him. Two weeks later I still haven’t heard back from them and after a phone call goes unanswered, I assume either my application was rejected or he was adopted by someone else. I look elsewhere and end up adopting an elderly pair that belonged to an owner who passed away. Three months afterwards I get a phone call from a volunteer at the shelter.)

Volunteer: “Hey, I’m looking at your application and I was wondering if you were still interested in the cat?”

Me: “Oh, sorry, it’s been months and I thought my application was rejected. I adopted two cats from another shelter already.”

Volunteer: “Can’t you still take him? He gets along with other cats really well.”

Me: “Sorry, sir, I already had a cat before adopting them. Three is my limit and I don’t have the means to care for a fourth.”

Volunteer: *suddenly angry* “So you just don’t care about the cat anymore, then?”

Me: “I’m sorry, what?”

Volunteer: “If you changed your mind and decided you didn’t want the cat, you should have called and told us. You’ve just wasted our time! We could have found him a home with someone else!”

Me: “I beg your pardon, but I applied for the cat months ago. I didn’t so much as get an email from you and no one even bothered to return the call I left. I feel bad for the cat, but I really can’t take him now. Maybe I would have if you actually contacted me in a timely manner.”

Volunteer: “Don’t bother trying to adopt from us again. I’m barring you from our shelter.” *hangs up*

(I was stunned, so I went onto the shelter’s website, found contact information, and emailed the owner directly. She later got back to me with an apology and promised that I could still adopt from them in the future if I so please. Apparently the reason it took months to get back to me was because the volunteer, who turned out to be her adult son, lost most of the applications, including mine, which ended up costing several cats potential homes. On the positive side, all three of my cats are inseparable friends.)

Was Animally Attracted To The Job

| Winnipeg, MB, Canada | Working | September 19, 2016

(I have been looking for a job for quite a long time, so I am thrilled to get a call from the pet shelter I’d applied to. They advertised for a part-time receptionist who would also be responsible for booking appointments and arranging birthday parties at the shelter. I love animals, and think this will be perfect.)

Interviewer: “You’ll be expected to assist with euthanizing animals on a regular basis once they’re past their ‘adopt-by’ dates.”

Me: “Um… there must be some mistake. I applied for the part-time receptionist position.”

Interviewer: “That’s correct.”

Me: “The job posting didn’t mention anything about euthanizing animals, though?” *thinking: If it had, I would never have applied.*

Interviewer: “I realize that, but we’ve found that if we include that in our ad, no-one will apply.”

Me: “I see… How often would I be expected to do that?” *hoping against hope that the answer will be very rarely.*

Interviewer: “Probably at least a couple of times a day. In fact, that’s mostly what this position will entail.”

Me: “I’m terribly sorry for wasting your time, but I don’t think this job will be a good fit for me.”

(I really needed a job, but I wouldn’t have been able to look my cat in the eye if I’d taken that one. Luckily, I found employment elsewhere a month later.)

Animal Control Out Of Control

| CA, USA | Right | September 16, 2016

(A woman whose dog adoption I handled a few days prior is coming back to return the dog. Our return policy allows for refund or exchange within two weeks only if the animal has a life-threatening illness. This policy is covered, in detail, with every adopter. As I’m helping another customer on the next workstation, I hear my coworker struggling to maintain composure with an increasingly irate customer. I finish the transaction I’m on and hear the magic words:)

Customer: “Let me speak to your supervisor.”

(I turn and address the customer.)

Me: “Hi, I’m the Adoptions Lead. How can I help you?”

(She explains the same thing she’s been telling my coworker.)

Customer: “I have four dogs at home already and did not know that was the legal limit for the area. The police came to my home for something unrelated and told me I had to get rid of my new dog. I want a refund for my adoption fee!”

(She even breaks down into hysterical crying, which she’d also done with my coworker.)

Me: “Ma’am, what my coworker here has already told you is correct. This does not fall within the refund policy. It is your responsibility as a pet owner to know the laws before taking a new pet into your home.”

Customer: “But YOU PEOPLE sell the animals! I told you how many dogs I had at home and you still adopted one out to me anyway. You should have known better! You should know the animal regulations!”

Me: “Ma’am, first off, it is not our responsibility to know all the animal regulations of all the various cities and regions around here. It is always the consumer’s responsibility to make sure they are legal. We have adopters who come here from all over the state. I’ve had adopters from as much as four hours away, as well as out-of-state adopters. We couldn’t possibly know the regulations for all these areas. Secondly, we do contract with [City where the shelter is located] for animal control services, so we do know the guidelines for [City]. However, you do not live in [City].”

Customer: “But I’m just in [Town next to ours]! You should know the regulations for [Town]! You should have a book listing each nearby town and their animal regulations!”

Me: “Ma’am, that’s never going to happen. It is always the consumer’s responsibility and not ours.”

(She continued to argue with me over seller’s responsibility versus buyer’s, until I tell her:)

Me: “Look, we’re not going to agree on this, but we really don’t have to. All I can do for you right now is submit your request to the manager in charge of financials, who is off for the next two days, and see what he decides. Until then, you need to GO HOME, and wait for a response on his decision.”

Customer: “I’m not going to go home; I’m going to go to my lawyer!”

Me: “That’s your prerogative, ma’am. Have a great day.”

(She blows up a few more times over the wording of the request we sent to the manager.)

Customer: “This makes it sound like it’s my fault!”

Me: “Ma’am, this has been written out exactly the way you told it to us”

Customer: “Well, I want you to put in there that the police came out and said I had to return the dog”

Me: “It does say that”

Customer: “But it doesn’t say they gave me a written warning!”.

(Then she started crying at the desk for a few minutes. I was worried we’d have to call the police to remove her, but she finally left. After she left, a coworker told me she knew the lady’s ex-husband. The ex said she’d adopted the dog in an attempt to get her teenage son to spend more time with her instead of at his dad’s house. When that didn’t work, she called her ex and told him to come get “his son’s dog.” He replied that it was her dog and she’d have to take care of it. She threatened to set the dog loose on the street. He told her no, she had to either care for the dog, or take it back to the shelter. He said the police were never involved, which had never made any sense anyway, since police don’t really know enough about animal codes to enforce animal limit — they leave that to animal control.)

Hold Your Horses!

| Scotland, UK | Working | August 4, 2016

(I’m 18 and I’ve been volunteering at a horse sanctuary for a number of months. A coworker in her early 20s seems to take an immediate dislike towards me; taking every opportunity to put me down or tell me what to do. I’m cleaning one of the stables while singing to ‘Country Roads’ on my iPod when she storms up to me. All the horses are in the field.)

Coworker: “[My Name], stop singing! You’re scaring the horses!”

Me: “Sorry?” *glances at the little fat, grey pony sleeping next to me* “I don’t think I was that loud.”

Coworker: “Just do what I said!” *storms off*

(At this point I’m used to this so I just resume my work. Some time later one of the staff comes running towards the yard screaming that one of the horses has escaped. The sanctuary is right next to a main road notorious for people speeding. Everyone runs to the field where the horse has run into.)

Owner: “Everyone look for him!” *turns to me* That gate is broken. Stay there and stop him if he tries to get out!”

Me: “Sure.”

(20 minutes later, I can hear everyone yelling after the horse, and eventually I see him running towards me in a panic. I’ve been around horses for a number of years so I just let him run back and forth until he stops and let me hold his head.)

Me: *in a low and quiet tone* “You’re a good boy, [Horse]. It’s okay, son.”

(I suddenly hear the woman shout out of sight.)


(Suddenly the horse gets a fright and tries to barge past me to get out of the gate. Thinking quickly, I push him on his chest which makes him stop. This horse is two meters tall and weighs about 1200lbs. A second later a speeding car zooms past about a metre behind me. Everyone freezes and let’s out a shriek.)

Owner: *panting* “Oh! [My Name], good lass! I’m so glad you were there!”

Me: *shell-shocked* “Me, too! Come on, we need to get him back to his field!”

(I get a few ‘well done’s’ from a number of staff but nothing much else, which I am fine with since I don’t like attention. The whole time the coworker is giving me a weird look. Once the horse is back in his field, the owner lets me take my break early. I’m sitting on a hay bale drinking my cola.)

Coworker: *walking up to me, looking annoyed* “You know how you saved [Horse] from being run over?”

Me: “Yeah?” *jokingly* “And myself?” *looks more annoyed so I’m expecting something bad*

Coworker: “All I’m going to say is you didn’t do it right.”

(She rambles on about how I was “supposed” to save the horse from being run over, the whole time I am fighting the urge not to face-palm myself.)

Me: “[Coworker], I stopped him from running out—“

Coworker: “But all I’m saying is, you didn’t do it right!”

Me: “I made a snap decision—“

Coworker: “Horses make faster decisions than you can! Anyone could have done it!”

Me: *fed up* “Listen, this isn’t the first time I’ve saved a horse’s life.”

Coworker: “Don’t start bragging!”

Me: “A horse at my old farm had colic and I was the only person to notice. I called the vet and the owner. Everyone had gone home and I stayed an extra two hours walking him until the owners came! If I hadn’t, I don’t want to think of what would have happened! Maybe I didn’t do it correctly but I still did it!” *pauses* “How many horses’ lives have YOU saved?”

Coworker: “…”

Me: “Well?”

Coworker: “…” *glares at me* “Don’t get an ego over this! You’re not that great with horses!” *storms off*

(I still volunteer at that horse sanctuary and the incident isn’t much more than an amusing story to tell to people who work there. As for the coworker, the owner dismissed her because of her attitude as well as her demanding more money (keep in mind this is a non-profit organisation). And she claims I have an ego…)

A Pet Is For Life, Not Four Minutes

| MI, USA | Right | July 12, 2016

(An older man and his daughter come into the animal shelter. His daughter is wearing slippers in public.)

Me: “Hello! Is there anything I can help you with?”

Man: “Yeah, I want a kitten.”

Me: “Okay, well we only have one really young kitten right now. She is about four months old an—”

Man: *interrupts me* “Yeah, I’ll take that one.”

Me: “Well, you have to spend some time with her and make sure that she has the personality you’re looking for.”

(We take the kitten into the adoption room so he can spend time with her and so I can further counsel the adoption. The man spends about four minutes with the kitten and comes back out holding her. I go up and take the kitten.)

Me: “Is everything okay?”

Man: “Yeah, I want that kitten.”

Me: “Well, I need you to spend at least fifteen minutes with her. The time you spent with her isn’t enough to get to know her, and I’ll have to ask some questions.”

Man: *getting annoyed* “I just want this kitten.”

Me: “You have to spend more time with her so we can make sure she is going to the right home.”

Man: “I’m a good pet owner! I just want the kitten!”

Me: “I’m not saying you aren’t. You just have to spend more time with her.”

Man: “Well, I have stuff to do! I can’t spend all day here!”

Me: “I’m sorry, but you are required to spend more time with her if you want to adopt from us.”

(The man stares at me blankly for a minute, throws his arms up and starts to walk out. At this point his daughter chimes in.)

Daughter: “You people are ridiculous!”

(She promptly followed her dad out and left.)

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